Friday, December 29, 2017

A Pea Gravel Patio!

When we tore off the decks to add the basement, I told Paul that rather than build the huge wraparound deck that we had previously, I wanted to replace the deck outside each door, but build a patio between them.
I'm not sure he quite agreed with me, but he designed and built two beautiful decks.

We laid gravel with plans to pour concrete within a year.
Well..... 3 years later.....  It still looked the same.  Part was due to finances - concrete is a lot more expensive than it was 10 years ago when we installed our sidewalk!  But a lot was due to indecisiveness.....  Neither of us wanted a square chunk of gray concrete.  But flagstones, staining, texturing - all added to the cost!
And then I read an article online that said you can use pea gravel as an affordable alternative to concrete.  Just that; no pictures, links, or anything.
So I tore the internet apart trying to find inspiration.  I did find a couple of blogs that made very basic, very tiny patios using pea gravel.  But I couldn't find any ideas that we could use on our space.  So I imagined, talked to Paul, did some price checking, and then.... We started work.

We leveled the area and used 5x5 timbers to frame it, secured to the ground with re-bar pounded through drilled holes.

We laid down landscape fabric (on the windiest week in April, I think!) to keep the weeds from sprouting through the gravel.

Slave labor.  11 tons moved in 3 hours.
View from the corner by the house and back deck.  I'm standing in the flowerbed we designed to edge it on 2 sides (against the house).
I decided I wanted a solid transition from the stairs to the patio (not to mention it was a giant step down!)  I had slightly under-estimated the amount of gravel needed, also, so we laid rocks at the base of both sets of stairs that served both purposes - solid landing, plus several square yards worth of filler!

I love how the "transition area" turned out.

Paul used leftover rock to outline our tiny bit of grass in the front, making it look very nice an tidy.

I priced patio furniture, and decided we couldn't afford it - at least not the style I wanted.  Paul took some measurements and built us some!  Here we have the first couch he built and the 2 cushions that actually did arrive with the "free 2 day shipping."

And this is the finished project!  We had to wait to stain it because the lumber was still very wet. 
(And it's a good thing we did, or the hail would have destroyed it!)

Add some flowers for perfection!
The purple cow is an ongoing family joke.  We confused the heck out of one of my dad's milk route drivers when we were young, by leaving a note for him on the fuel tank (just for randomness sake):
I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow:
I'd rather see than be one!

I don't have a completed completion photo of all the deck furniture Paul built, with the flowers growing in the beds (actually, cabbage and kale, as the flowers were destroyed by hail).  Paul built us two full-length couches, a loveseat, chair, and footrest table for our outdoor oasis - all matching, and sized for standard "deep seating" patio cushions.
Despite not having a photo inspiration, the whole area turned out exactly how I had imagined.  It is the perfect place to relax in the evening, and has plenty of seating for all of our large family, plus guests.

The only drawback is that we got cats about the same time as we made the patio.  And they like to dig know.  So there is that consideration if you are interested in tackling a gravel patio as your own project.

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